The ninth annual, crazily successful Dine About Town promotion starts tomorrow. Quick recap for the uninitiated: Twice a year, for two weeks, a huge number of restaurants ranging from neighborhood bistros to high-end downtown spots offer lower-cost, prix-fixe meals. The promotion puts diners in seats in one of the slowest periods of the year for restaurants. This year, from Jan. 15 through Jan. 31, participating DAT restaurants will be offering two-course lunches for $17.95 and/or three-course dinners for $34.95.
A few resources: The official Dine About Town Website provides full information on participants, links to their OpenTable systems, and even lists sample menus. On Foodie 411, Marcia Gagliardi lists new participants for all you DAT regulars. And crafty Gentleman Gourmand Andrew Baber just sent SFoodie a Google Map plotting out all the participating DAT places that he has laboriously plotted out.
As 7x7 columnist Jessica Battilana astutely noted yesterday, some of the bargains are less of a bargain than others (not to mention the "I'm saving so much on food that I'll spend double on a nice bottle of wine" effect). But even if you're not getting much of a deal, you're keeping hundreds of local kitchen staff employed and busy. Think of it as an after-school program for bored cooks. Plot out your schedule ASAP ― some of these restaurants get packed.